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BLM > Arizona > What We Do > National Conservation Lands > National Monuments > Vermilion Cliffs > Safety
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Stay Safe !

Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is beautiful and wild.  Like any wild thing, it can also be dangerous if not approached with care.  The safety points below will help you stay safe and enjoy your visit.

Services:

Water is not available on the vast majority of the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. There are sporadic springs in Paria Canyon.  It is recommended that water in Paria Canyon should be treated prior to drinking. 

  • Plan to consume at least 1 gallon (4 liters) of water per person per day.

Cell phone service is not available on the majority of the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. 

  • Let someone know where you are going, and when you plan to depart and return. Share directions/maps to your starting trail head, numbers to agency visitor centers and any other helpful information about your trip with friends and loved ones. This will help Search and Rescue Officials find you more quickly and efficiently should an incident occur!

Vehicle Travel:

High clearance four-wheel-drive is strongly recommended on most roads on Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. Roads are primitive and are not maintained with the exception of House Rock Valley Road, which is only periodically maintained. 

House Rock Valley Road is the main road to access Vermilion Cliffs National Monument and is only periodically maintained. Most of the time, this road is negotiable with most vehicles. Rain and snow make this road impassable. Deep ruts also appear after vehicles drive on water-soaked, backcountry roads. Driving too fast across ruts can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Be sure to contact the local BLM office to obtain current road and weather conditions prior to departure.

Flooding at Buckskin CrossingThe Buckskin Crossing on the House Rock Valley Road can be an extremely dangerous crossing and flooding can result from a weather event miles upstream. Be aware of regional weather patterns to gauge flash flood potential in the areas you plan to visit. Never attempt to cross when flood waters are present and until the road is dry.

Paria Plateau roads are primarily soft sand roads with deep ruts that only high clearance 4WD vehicles should attempt. It is recommended when driving these roads to go with two or more vehicles. Carry a shovel and extra food and water with you. If you get stuck in sand, try partially deflating your tires to increase their surface area. Practice driving in soft sand before going to the Paria Plateau. Confidence in your abilities is critical to keep you from driving into an area that you are not comfortable.

  • Ensure that you have a full tank of gas,
  • at least a gallon of water per person,
  • at least one spare tire,
  • a vehicle tool kit,
  • and a first aid kit.

Summer Heat:

Summer temperatures on the Monument may reach upwards of 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid heat-related illnesses:


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  • Consume at least 1 gallon (4 liters) of water per person per day. 
  • Avoid hiking in the middle of the day when it is the hottest. 
  • Wear a hat, a long sleeved shirt, and sun screen; (this region provides little to no shade). Bring your sunglasses.
  • Eat well before hiking and bring food on your hike to help replace the electrolytes/energy used.
  • You may encounter rattlesnakes or other poisonous creatures. Watch for them and be careful where you put your hands and feet. Do not harass reptiles -- most bites result from people playing with, collecting, or attempting to kill them.

Hiking Safety Tips

  • Wear sturdy hiking boots/shoes. Hiking in regular street shoes can cause blisters, a twisted ankle or worse. 
  • Use a back pack to carry your water, food, cameras, and other items so your hands are free to help you balance, scramble or climb. Carry a first aid kit, whistle, and flashlight for emergencies that may arise. 
  • Carry a map, compass, and a GPS unit and know how to use them. These tools will be of no use to you if you do not know how to use them; and they can save your life. 
  • Let someone know where you are going, and when you plan to depart and return. Share directions/maps to your starting trail head, numbers to agency visitor centers and any other helpful information about your trip with friends and loved ones. This will help Search and Rescue Officials find you more quickly and efficiently should an incident occur!

Flash Floods:

The summer monsoon season runs from July-September and may bring intense thunderstorms with lightning and flash flooding. Do not cross streams or washes, or enter slot canyons during storms. Check with the local BLM office to see if there is a danger of flash floods or other hazardous weather.

Flash flood watches, warnings, or advisories can be found here: (http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/slc/flashflood/). 

Detailed forecasts for Coyote Buttes and Paria Canyon can be found here (http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lat=37.00200&lon=112.01926&unit=0&lg=english&FcstType=text&TextType=2).